I’ve just recently on this little journal been declaring how similar I am to Woden. So of course, time to put your cash where your teeth live, Henry. And events, strange events, have been afoot.
The thing with chaos magic is that when you read about in books it tends to come across that the universe is like a computer game – a serious of push-button scenarios that only get provoked by the magician’s actions. If the magician never entered the griffin’s secret cave then that griffin would just sit there, bored out of its brain for all eternity, doing its nails and reading the TV guide.
But in reality all kinds of wild stuff goes on, and while I’m off making crazy magical plans, the world it seems has plans for me.
Mr Volksfreund, who is often kind enough to lend his comments to these journal entries, is a friend in real life too (as though the internet were all just a fantasy!) He’s also a hellishly good medium and provoker of magic. I mean, when I hang around him I tend to get spontaneously possessed by Woden. Which is fun, but dangerous of course. But fun. I like fun.
So Volksfreund recently spent a few days at a famous haunted location here in New South Wales. I can’t tell you what it is called or where it is for reasons which aren’t worth explaining (due to being intensely prosaic). He recorded all kinds of evidence of ghostly activity, conversed with spirits, you name it.
On his return we had dinner – which turned into something of a bar crawl I admit – and he told me all about his otherworldly adventures. His tales are pretty damn out there, but I’ve seen and heard his recorded evidence too – very impressive. What neither of us quite expected, however, was that some of the beings he encountered could use him as a bridge to get out into the wider world! And so things began to get odd, because I copped some of these visitors.
It first started at night. I was alone in the house and my intuitive hackles got rubbed right on up. I don’t like being watched by entities that I cannot otherwise detect. I’m not conventionally psychic, but I know when there is magic going on around me. I pulled out my standard Thor magic artillery and that cleared the space… but whereas usually that settles the matter, on this night it did not. My visitors returned later.
So I’m lying in bed, sleeping happily away, and then I’m awake and a young ghostly woman is standing in front of me. She’s the one I sent packing earlier in the night, only to return. As I say, they don’t usually do that, so I’m a little intimidated. Lucky for me, all she wants is to talk.
She says her name is Abigail and she died when quite young. Her dress is very much turn of the century, and her eyes are wide and innocent. She seems to be one of those ghosts that haven’t really developed much perspective since they died. Still wrapped up in and identifying with her lost human form.
I ask her how she managed to come back after the magic I performed; similarly I ask her how she managed to use Volksfreund as a bridge to come to visit me. She doesn’t know the answers; she’s just as confused by it as I am. Reaching an impasse I ask her – well, why are you here ruining my night’s sleep?
Incidentally – why do ghosts have to do that? I mean, I’m a morning person, if they come in at 5.30 am I’ll already be up, showered, breakfasted and ready to stomach the undead. But 4 in the morning? C’mon, surely that’s still roll over and go back to sleep time.
Ok, so petty complaints aside – Abigail explains that she has been sent by someone, she is serving another being which took care of her ability to find me and weather the dismissal magic. And so she says that she’d like to see me again (which just seems a bit weird and uncool to me, can I just say), and then she’s gone.
To be replaced but what I can only describe as a presence. This thing is old. I mean, I sometimes think that in the big picture I’m pretty old (or my true nature is anyway), but this thing is all old all the time. Its voice echoes in my skull like leaden sledgehammers. I have this vague intuition of a vast inky blackness, but really, who knows. I don’t have any of that cool second sight stuff unfortunately.
Well anyway, this being explains that it has sought me out because of my Odinnic lineage. I considers me to be a psychopomp, one who guides the dead to their resting place. And it wants to educate me in this undertaking!
Volksfreund tells me that the haunted location this being followed him from on its way to me was used by the local Aboriginal groups once upon a time as a psychopomp training ground – apparently this is a matter of historical fact. Well I don’t know how I fit into all that (or not) but hearing that did make me feel a bit less nuts.
Apologies to anyone who finds it offensive that an Australian land spirit would take any notice of a white guy, but they seem to like Woden for some reason. Its not my fault! Yes, I am aware of the complex politics of spirit of place and also I’m not going to ignore some big scary spirit just to keep happy a bunch of atheist academics who don’t believe in Aboriginal spirits anyway. Or something along those line anyway. Don’t take me too seriously on this folks.
It explains that I am a psychopomp. My only true calling is to serve the dead, to guide them from blockage or ensnarement into the next part of wherever they are supposed to go when they die. Hmm. That gets me thinking. I had an uncle who was an Odinnic avatar. At his funeral I saw Odin come, cloth him in garments of blazing gold, and lead him off to Valhalla. I wonder if I saw that because of this psychopomp business?
I point out to this spirit that I’ve been following this whole psychotherapy path, and that I’m about to can that and do more psychology study, and that this work is a bit like being a psychopomp for the living at times. Isn’t that enough? No, it says. Not enough. Apparently it doesn’t think I was ever meant to work with the living – that was just the best compromise I could find in this damn atheist-on-the-surface-but-actually-terrified-of-the-unknown society I’m in.
Well then, I point out that this is no basis for putting my beloved organic vegetables on the table, or having anything better than rags to wear. “Arrangements would be made” is the response. What on earth does that mean?
I mean, let me get this straight, I’m told by an entity which may have at some point knocked about with Aboriginal sacred stuff that I am a psychopomp by virtue of my Odinnic lineage and that I’m supposed to spend my working life freeing the dead of entrapment and helping them on their way to the next stop on the grand consciousness carousel.
Does anyone else find this bloody weird?
And then this great beastie says it wants me to come visit it at the location Volksfreund was mucking about at so it can educate me some more. Well, we are going to check it out on Sunday night, so I sure hope that something happens.
A few days later I try contacting this spirit again but all I get is a brief Abigail appearance, who tells me that it I have to visit them if I want to know any more. Damn.
Does it end there? Oh no it doesn’t!
Ironwood played a gig in Canberra last weekend. While I’m watching the band on before us (a very classy act called The Veil, check them out), the big scary spirit speaks to me. It says our performance tonight is only incidentally for the living. Really, it’s for the dead. What does that even mean? Ok, I say. Whatever, at least you know what is going on!
And then a name of Odin’s comes to mind. Draugadrottin – Lord Of The Dead. Sounding a bit thematic? Sure is to me. The first song we planned to play (and indeed did play) is an Odinnic invocation. So I made sure Draugadrottin got some extra focus when we performed. I really should try to contact this aspect of One-Eye.
As we prepare to perform all these ghostly forms start entering the venue. By the time we are underway the place is bursting from the seams with ghosts. Yet when I try to focus directly on them – gone. Then when I stop trying – bang, everywhere. Luckily we performed really well (hurray for returning to a regular rehearsal schedule). So I guess we satisfied them. I mean, I didn’t get any rotten spectral tomatoes in the face after our set.
Is this what being a psychopomp is? I don’t even know. But hey, if I can make a living doing this sort of thing, well that sounds like fun. I hope it means I get to have an Indiana Jones kinda lifestyle in fact. I need one of those cool whips that psychically know when you want them to come loose and when you want them to hold on tight.
So yeah, we’re about to go and check this place out. I wonder what will happen? Well, you might read about it here… if I make it back. After all, they never said I was going to be a living psychopomp. I hope I can make sense of this. If this is somehow my path… well then I better bloody well embrace it with all my heart. See you on the other side… or not.
Hey, I just realised. Its Friday The 13th!